In Japan, the oxygen pressure swing adsorption (PSA) generator market is considered to be at a mature stage in its product life cycle. In the 2016 fiscal year the market was flat at best and achieving increased orders was extremely difficult.
However, in the second half of the fiscal year, starting in October, replacement work for existing PSA facilities for electric furnaces, paper manufacturing, and other areas quickly materialised and resulted in unexpected orders from related companies. Finally, after a long interval the PSA market began to regain momentum.
The three main Japanese manufacturers, Veolia Jenets, Sumitomo Seika Chemicals and Air Water, received orders for 16 generators in FY2016 with an increase of seven generators over the previous year. This is estimated to represent a market of aproximately ¥2.5bn ($22m).
According to reserach conducted by The Gas Review, Veolia Jenets received orders for six generators in FY2016 (total capacity of 4,500 m3/h), Sumitomo Seika Chemicals received orders for five generators (8,200 m3/h), and Air Water received orders for five generators (10,700 m3/h). The total generation capacity for all three companies came to 23,400 m3/h, more than double the results for the previous year.
The fiscal year of 2017 is also seeing promising developments for equipment sales in non-ferrous markets, and there are stiff competitions for orders. Other prospects are limited however, and the outlook for orders is identical to what it was in the last spring. Even so, the manufacturers are predicting unexpected replacement demand like they experienced in the prior year.
Veolia Jenets received orders for two 1,400 m3/h generators and one 400 m3/h generator for refuse melting, one 700 m3/h generator and one 100 m3/h generator for water processing, and one 500 m3/h generator for paper manufacturing. Except for the generators for refuse melting, the generators were for replacement demand. The PSA oxygen generator for water processing was a replacement for an oxygen PSA generator mounted in ‘UNOX System’, (activated sludge treatment process with pure oxygen). Deliveries of more than 150 systems have been made globally.
Sumitomo Seika Chemicals received an order for one 2,100 m3/h generator for paper manufacturing, two 2,000 m3/h generators for export to India, and one 1,100 m3/h generator and one 1,000 m3/h generator for electric furnaces. The generators for paper manufacturing and the electric furnaces are replacements. The generators for India are for petroleum refining. Topics for Sumitomo Seika Chemicals last fiscal year were highlighted by their first delivery to Russia.
In November, they finally delivered a 5,000 m3/h generator for copper refining in Russia. It was ordered in 2013, but delivery had been delayed due to an unstable situation. This is the first time a manufacturer in Japan has exported a PSA oxygen generator to Russia. In Russia, ASU is the main onsite oxygen supply method, so this is an untapped market for oxygen PSA generators. Sumitomo Seika Chemicals plans to continue proactively collecting information on the Russian market.
Air Water received orders for two 850 m3/h generators for non-ferrous refining, one 3,000 m3/h generator for export to China, and two 3,000 m3/h generators for electric furnaces. The two generators for electric furnaces are replacements. All of these contracts are for ‘gas total systems’ (gas supply with back-up). The generators for non-ferrous applications represent contracts with new customers that were won at the end of strict competition with several industrial gas manufacturers last autumn. Air Water received orders for a total capacity of more than 10,000 m3/h to achieve the best results of the three manufacturers. Oxygen PSA business at Air Water was limited to orders of only two 732 m3/h generators for paper manufacturing in 2015, which means they achieved a very large increase in orders both in the number of generators and capacity for FY2016.
The Gas Review, issue no. 434